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A student art show was held in the Orangerie on Tuesday in celebration of Black History Month.

“The theme of FDU’s Black History Month celebration is diversity,” said Professor of Visual and Performing Arts Janet O’Neil, who organized the event.

Different from the Senior Art Show, held annually for art majors and minors at the end of spring semester, the Black History Month art show exhibited the works of three of O’Neil’s classes: web design, vector art and graphic design. It also reflected on the question: what does diversity mean?

Students were given two quotes to draw inspiration from. The first was from John F. Kennedy’s address at American University in Washington, D.C., on June 10, 1963: “If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”

The second quote was, “It’s not enough to believe in diversity. We have to live it,” by USDA Forest Service Staff Officer Earl Ford.

The students brought diversity to life with an array of artwork, which included paintings and digital art using Adobe Illustrator CS5.

Though many of O’Neil’s students are familiar with Adobe Illustrator, others “were able to create amazing visual pieces with limited experience,” said O’Neil.

Text, especially the words of Kennedy and Ford, played a huge role in the student art pieces, which were all left anonymous.

Works were embellished with words like “rights,” “justice” and “education,” signifying equality for all.

Lyrics from John Lennon’s popular song “Imagine” also found its place in the student art show with the words proclaiming, “and the world will live as one.”

Lightheartedness was also seen in some of the works, including an image of a sheep with the phrase, “No people are livestock.” Though the sheep was adorable, this image also surfaced as an important message of human rights.

The art contained images of African-American individuals who changed American society, such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama. Images of 70s guitar idol Jimmy Hendrix and rap legend Tupac Shakur were also included.

Though this year’s Black History Month art show received a better turnout, according to O’Neil, “The pieces in this show were just as visually engaging as those from the previous year.”

This year’s show received help from FDU faculty members Monifa Brinson-Mulraine, Katie Singer and Stacie Lents. They brought their classes to the show as a chance to educate their students about Black History Month, though the show was open to all students.

Lents also had a role in arranging for a dramatic scene for her play, “Black History, Black Voices 2: College Colors,” which was performed over the weekend in the Barn Theater.
O’Neil added that she will be organizing a website of the artwork and the artwork will be up for sale by the individual artist.

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